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Miracle Fruit

Posted By Worker Bee On May 23, 2009 @ 8:00 am In Health,Humor | 15 Comments

From reading MDA, you might get the idea that we’re a little too focused on health, wellness, nutrition, and fitness for our own good. I can’t say I blame you. We do love our facts, our science, and our experiential evidence (hey, when you’re a vocal proponent of a lifestyle in direct opposition to Conventional Wisdom [7], you need to back your claims up), but we also stress that the Primal Blueprint [8] is about enjoying life and fulfilling our existence. Our recipes [9] are healthy, but they’re also rich, hearty, and delicious. Our exercise recommendations are intense and effective, but they’re also interesting, varied, and fun. The concept of regular play and social bonding is a huge part of our philosophy, and we fully promote the consumption of reasonable amounts of red wine and good dark chocolate [10] (preferably together). That said, a post on miracle fruit is long overdue, and, to be expected.

Miracle fruit plants, or synsepalum dulcificum, produces berries that, when eaten, cause sour foods to taste sweet. The active chemical, called miraculin, binds to the tongue’s taste buds, changing the way they interpret flavors. It sounds like something out of Willy Wonka’s factory, but is it truly miraculous? Well, diabetics and dieters have been using it in Asia for decades. It has little inherent nutritional value, but it turns sour sweet and enhances/alters the taste of other things in some pretty remarkable ways.

Our own Worker Bee can attest to the berry’s powers. He gathered a bunch of friends together, told them to bring various foods and beverages, while he provided the miracle fruit. Instead of using the fresh berry – which can be difficult to find and expensive to boot – he used the freeze-dried tablets.

After dissolving a tab on his tongue, he dove into the bounty, which included:

  • Guinness beer (the best of all; tasted like a chocolate milk shake)
  • Blueberries (tasted like the best blueberries ever)
  • Cherry tomatoes (tasted a bit like Concord grapes)
  • Lemons (tasted like lemon candy)
  • Wine (awful; tasted like “painfully sweet dessert wine”)
  • Jalapeños (sweet on the outside, spicy on the inside, rather overwhelming)
  • Mustard (tasted like sweet frosting)
  • Ritz Cheese Sandwiches (admittedly not Primal, but the cheese filling tasted like Oreo filling)

More neutral flavored items like beef jerky, nuts, or pretzels were basically unchanged. His favorite combination was dark chocolate topped with tomato slices and slathered in mustard. Strangest of all, he said, was that using the miracle fruit wasn’t a radical departure from the normal flavor profiles of the food. He could still tell he was eating a tomato, or drinking a beer; it’s just that the sweet/sour/bitter sensations were all out of whack (but in a good way).

It definitely sounds like miracle fruit is worth a try. And it might sound tempting to a Primal Blueprinter struggling with sugar cravings to buy berries and go to town on a bag full of lemons, but I would stress caution. Not only would the acid of the lemon still have an effect on you (try eating a lemon; the citric acid can cause sores), but chasing the sugar dragon – even if it’s technically nutritionally viable – will only keep your cravings going strong. You don’t want to shell out money (miracle berries are rather pricey) every time you want something sweet, do you? It’ll get expensive after awhile and, worst of all, you’ll probably eventually get sick of the flavor. I’d say try the miracle berries, but practice moderation to save your wallet and keep the experience fresh and fun.

Our Worker Bee ordered his tablets online from ThinkGeek [11] and was happy with the experience, and I found a list of worldwide providers of the fruit at MiracleTaste.com [12]. Good luck, and tell us all about it!

torrez [14], Arthaey [15] Flickr Photos (CC)

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[15] Arthaey: http://www.flickr.com/photos/arthaey/3228196444/

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